The Children's Shakespeare Festival 2021

Photograph by Andrew Billington


As is normally the case with the Festival, our work was in collaboration with a number of professional theatres based around the North West. From the off, we catered our filming plans around the specific layouts, structures and demands of four different theatres; two of which were traditional 'front on' theatres , the other two being 'theatres in the round', which posed a number of creative challenges within itself. The children performed on the stages as if to an audience - but instead of looking out at rows of audience members, they would instead be performing to our cameras.

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We filmed across twelve individual shoot days in a four week period, capturing a total of forty eight classes made up of more than thirteen hundred primary school children. Our filming crew across the shoots consisted of two Filming Leads, two First Camera Operators and a Sound Recordist.

For each class, there was a one hour time slot; during which they performed their full Shakespeare piece twice through, as well as performing a pre-rehearsed song and speech.

Each performance was captured from three camera angles, and two individual sound set ups were utilised to capture both performance audio and ambient music (which was played live by North West Drama's amazing musician Sam McCloughlin).


Our two editors (Tom Doona and Rowan Walsh) had their work cut out for them, with eight edits in a period of three weeks, the longest edit turnaround being eight days, the shortest being three days.

Each edit, coined as the 'Festival Films', was compiled of between five and nine different individual performances, and each ran for an average duration of seventy five minutes. The Films each had their own unique idiosyncrasies, but there was a sustained house style across all of the films which added to the idea of all of these classes, all of this work, coming together due to one vast collaborative effort from everyone involved.

The Festival is a shared experience, and the Films were created to portray that.


Due to important safeguarding procedures and measures that must be catered to in such a project, the Festival Films could not simply be uploaded publicly online.

So, we created a process in which each Film was to live stream twice in one day, via YouTube; the first stream taking place at 10.30am, the second at 18.30pm. The streams were viewed by more than two thousand viewers; but most valuably is the fact that the students and teachers were able to watch the streams together in their classroom.

As soon as the streams ended, the Film was no longer available online (hence the lack of full Films on this page) - but each class was sent their individual performance, for them to keep and watch as much as they want!